ACNC releases fundraising agencies guidance

Working with fundraising agencies helps charities manage their links with fundraisers and enter into new agreements while ensuring that they meet their charity-status obligations.

Recent media reports have alleged that some agencies have used inappropriate workplace practices and might have broken Australian employment laws. The allegations undoubtedly damage public trust and confidence in Australia’s charity sector.

The guidance addresses:

  • Fundraising and charity governance
  • Working with fundraising agencies
  • Considerations for working with a fundraising agency
  • Practical steps for ensuring good governance, and
  • Taking fundraising governance seriously.

ACNC commissioner Susan Pascoe highlighted the risk to public trust and confidence as the impetus for releasing the guidance.

‘Charity boards cannot outsource their responsibilities,’ Ms Pascoe said.

‘Charities run the real risk of damaging public trust and confidence in both their brand and the sector more widely if they are being inappropriately represented by third-party fundraisers in the community.

‘The board should be satisfied that the fundraising agency they have contracted is aware of its legal obligations, has appropriate policies and processes to ensure compliance, and also shares the values of the charity. A charity must have appropriate oversight of all of the activities conducted by a fundraising agency in the name of the charity.’

Paul Tavatgis, chief executive of the PFRA – a self-regulatory body for face-to-face fundraising in Australia – welcomed the guidance and encouraged charities to consider committing to the associations rules that define how face-to-face fundraisers should behave.

FIA chief executive Rob Edwards welcomed the ACNC’s position on governance practices for charities that used fundraising agencies.

‘As the national peak body representing professional fundraising in Australia, FIA believes that the fundraising sector can only remain sustainable when there is strong public trust. The FIA’s Principles & Standards of Fundraising Practice are the professional fundraiser’s guide to ethical, accountable and transparent fundraising. [It is] critical to how the fundraising profession is viewed by donors, government and the community”.

Other ACNC resources on fundraising are ACNC Governance Standards, Fundraising: engaging people in vulnerable circumstances, and Charities and fundraising: FAQs.

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